Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy that sustains me through temporary periods of joy. Words to that effect have been attributed both Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats but I’m going for Yeats – they seem more poetic and less Wildey to me.
I’m a fan of the man. Have been for years. That’s not to say I’m any sort of authority on his work or indeed his life. I’m not. Definitely not. But ever since coming across the album Now and in a time to be, I’ve been a fan. Touted as a musical celebration of the works of WB Yeats, the playlist is classic, and all the more so because the man apparently believed that his poems should be put to music:
1. Under Ben Bulben – Richard Harris
2. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death – Shane MacGowan & Cafe Orchestra
3. Politics – Karl Wallinger
4. Before the World Was Made – Van Morrison
5. A Song of the Rosy-Cross – Mike Scott & Sharon Shannon
6. The Fish – Sinead Lohan
7. Gort Na Sailean (Down by the Salley Gardens) – Tamalin
8. The Four Ages of Man – World Party
9. The Song of Wandering Aengus – Christy Moore
10. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven – Nervous
11. The Stolen Child – The Waterboys
12. Yeat’s Grave – The Cranberries
13. Lake Isle Of Innisfree – W.B. Yeats
14. Under Ben Bulben – Richard Harris
I was living in Valdez at the time, a small Alaska town whose shopping experience was (and perhaps still is) limited. Retail therapy was scarce. But at one stage, there was a music store and it was there that I came across the CD. I bought a copy and after listening to it, went back and bought two more. I then had them order in another couple as they made great gifts. I had no luck finding the CD in Ireland or since, for that matter. But I played it over and over and over again. It was while listening to The Waterboys version of Stolen Child that I got my stolenchild moniker.
Fast forward a few years to a dinner in Budapest with the Dix duo and an introduction to yet another compilation of the poet’s work put to music – The Waterboys album, An Appointment with Mr Yeats, reviewed to some acclaim. I listened to it a couple of times and then filed it. With my other CDs.
I prefer to work in silence so I rarely listen to music. Unless I’m driving. And I’ve not been driving much till recently. Now that I’m back on the road, the CDs are being dusted off and old joys are being discovered.
This week, I’m grateful to have a car. And while I’m having to recalibrate my shopping habits given the rural nature of life, I’m grateful that the closest shops keeping convenient opening hours are 30 minutes away. So I get to drive. And I get to listen to music. And I’m really happy to have rediscovered an old favourite.